State House of Representative Races
Tolland Council member Brenda Falusi, a Democrat, is once again challenging Republican incumbent Tim Ackert, seeking to represent State House District 8, which includes parts of Vernon. Falusi lost to Ackert in 2018, 7610 to 4597, handing him a fifth term in the office. According to the Journal Inquirer, Falusi says she feels stronger in this, her second bid for the position, because she has become more familiar with local towns and the fiscal impact the state has had on them. Both candidates emphasize continuing to advocate for homeowners affected by the issue of crumbling foundations as well as the need for affordable health insurance.
For more information go to Facebook@RepBrenda2020 and ackertforthe8th.com
Newcomer Greg Post faces Republican Incumbent Kurt Vail in State House District 52, which represents Somers and Stafford. Vail, who is seeking a fourth term, considers his work “across the aisle” on the Veteran’s Affairs Committee to be of great importance for the welfare of men and woman who have served the country. He also attributes combined efforts in the district having strengthened the area’s response to the pandemic. Post, a hotel manager laid off due to the pandemic, says he has thought about running for office in the past. If elected, he hopes to foster bipartisanism as well.
Vernon voters will be deciding whether Democrat incumbent Michael Winkler or Vernon Town Council Member Laura Bush will represent them in State House District 56. As in District 8, this is a rematch between the same pair of candidates who ran in 2018, when Winkler won his second term against Bush 5150 to 3807. While Winkler, a retired State worker, cites his long list of accomplishments and reputation for strong responsiveness in the Senate, Bush, a teacher, is challenging Winkler’s progressive platform, calling for fiscal restraint and lower taxes.
The Ellington Democratic Chairwoman, Jaime Foster, is running against Republican Town Selectman David Stavens for the State House District 57 seat that represents Ellington and part of East Windsor. Neither was their party’s originally expected candidate. Foster, a dietician who has served on the town’s Board of Education describes herself as an advocate for the wellbeing of children and seniors, especially in the areas of nutrition and health. In a recent interview Stevans designated “affordability” the most pressing issue facing the state, saying, “We cannot keep raising taxes and expect people to survive.”
Enfield’s longtime Republican town chairperson, Mary Ann Turner, is running against Democrat incumbent Tom Arnone for the State House District 58 seat that represents the western portion of Enfield, including the Thompsonville section. Arnone, who is seeking a second term after having served on the Town Council, defeated Rep. Greg Stokes by just over 500 votes in 2018. He says he has kept his promise to not vote for any state budget that would hurt his hometown. Turner, who also holds the position of town constable, says she’s running partly because the legislators in Hartford could use her talents in recruiting residents to become involved in their community. She also feels “taxing ourselves out of debt is not working.”
In State House District 59, which represents part of Enfield and part of East Windsor, political newcomer Democrat Jerry Calnen is challenging Republican incumbent Carol Hall who is seeking a third term. Calnen, a retired pediatrician, has continued advocating for children since his retirement, especially through his involvement in Enfield Key Initiative to Early Education (KITE), an organization that works to ensure preschool children are ready to enter public school. He also wants to focus on resources that will ameliorate the serious mental health crises children and adults have faced even before COVID-19, and have increased since the pandemic. Hall, a realtor, recently voted against a police accountability bill she believes puts members of police departments, state troopers, and the people they’re sworn to protect at risk. She feels her past experience serving on the Enfield Town Council prepared her to work effectively on the state level and that the pandemic has involved her in more constituent work in the months since the medical challenge began.
For more information go to calnenforthe59th.com and cthousegop/hall
In State House District 60, Democrat incumbent Jane Garibay will, once again, face Windsor Locks Selectman Scott A. Storms, the Republican representative she unseated in 2018 by just under 600 votes. Prior to being elected as a legislator in 2018, Garibay served on the Windsor Board of Education. She co-founded the Windsor Education Foundation and is the president of the Windsor Food and Fuel Bank. Having survived a two-week bout with the coronavirus in May, she feels she came to understand the fear associated with COVID-19 and the necessity that everyone has access to health care. Since his narrow defeat against Garibay in 2018, Storms, an attorney, was elected a Windsor Locks selectman, a position he feels has prepared him even more for the state representative seat. He also chaired the Windsor Locks Board of Education for two of the 14 years he served on it. The Windsor Locks Police Union and state chapter of the National Federation of Independent Business recently endorsed Storms for the seat representing Windsor Locks and Windsor.
In another rematch, Suffield voters will join East Granby and Windsor voters in choosing Democrat challenger Jack Henri or Republican incumbent Tami Zawistowski to represent State House District 61. In their 2018 contest, Zawistowski won 6,212 to 4,075 — a margin of 2,137 votes. Henrie, a financial consultant and CPA, also serves as the Suffield town treasurer. He is a member of the Suffield Retirement Commission and the Economic Development Commission and was a member of the Board of Finance. Henrie says he is committed to improving Connecticut’s education, infrastructure, and access to affordable health care and that he has experience in helping struggling businesses to recover.
Zawistowski, a business owner with a background in finance, has been state representative since she won a special election in April 2014 to fill the remainder of the term of Democrat Elaine O’Brien, who died two months earlier. As a state representative she serves on the General Assembly’s Planning and Development Committee and Appropriations Committee. Zawistowski says her background in finance helps her understands the budget and that she knows when to exercise fiscal restraint.